Japan’s Peter Pan striker Kazuyoshi Miura is making ready to play one other season regardless of turning 54 this week, however he’s removed from his nation’s solely soccer-playing golden oldie.
Miura, higher often called “King Kazu,” might be seeking to lengthen his file because the oldest J. League first-division starter when his membership Yokohama FC kicks off their season on Saturday.
However he received’t be the one veteran rolling again the years, with 9 gamers over the age of 40 presently lining up for groups throughout the league’s three divisions.
“I feel Japanese tradition may need one thing to do with it,” 40-year-old Keiji Tamada, a striker with second-division V-Varen Nagasaki, instructed AFP.
“In fact the intention is to play in matches, however I feel plenty of gamers stick with their groups as a result of they really feel they will make a contribution past that,” by passing down information and expertise, he stated.
Miura, who’s making ready to start his thirty sixth profession season, turned the oldest participant on the earth to attain in knowledgeable match in 2017, when he discovered the online at 50 years and 14 days previous.
He prolonged his personal J. League file because the oldest starter in September final yr, considered one of 4 league appearances he made for Yokohama final season.
“I used to be feeling the enjoyment of taking part in soccer at a time when the world was dealing with a tricky state of affairs due to the brand new coronavirus,” he stated after renewing his contract final month.
“Personally it was not a passable season, however my ambition and enthusiasm for soccer are rising.”
However Miura, who started his skilled profession in 1986, is just not the one veteran raging in opposition to the dying mild within the J. League.
Former Celtic midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura continues to be going sturdy at 42, whereas ex-Japan internationals Junichi Inamoto, Yasuhito Endo and Teruyoshi Ito — now 46 — are all taking part in into their fifth many years.
Miura’s 53-year-old former Japan strike associate Masashi Nakayama was registered as a participant with third-division Azul Claro Numazu till final month, though his most up-to-date J. League look got here as a 45-year-old in 2012.
Midfielder Shinji Ono, now 41 and making ready for his twenty fourth skilled season, says the older technology “spur one another on.”
“Typically we meet up and have a chat,” Ono, who made 14 appearances within the second division final season for FC Ryukyu earlier than shifting to top-flight Consadole Sapporo, instructed AFP.
“However we by no means speak about after we’re going to retire, as a result of you’ll be able to really feel that everybody is having fun with taking part in soccer.”
Gamers persevering with their careers into their 40s are comparatively uncommon in Europe, with Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and Montpellier defender Hilton — each 43 — two of the few nonetheless lively.
Dutch defender Calvin Jong-a-Pin, a teammate of Miura’s at Yokohama, believes the much less bodily bruising nature of the J. League “positively helps” gamers proceed for longer.
However he can’t discover fault with the seemingly evergreen Miura’s health.
“He’s extremely motivated and only a true skilled,” stated Jong-a-Pin, a relative spring rooster at 34.
“In coaching, we’ve arduous periods the place we’ve to run, and he’s operating on the entrance. He’s the primary man doing all of the laps, and everyone seems to be behind him.”
Jong-a-Pin says Miura has a private coach “who follows him in all places,” and even has his personal driver “so he doesn’t lose power driving from his house to the clubhouse.”
Ono, who has performed within the Netherlands, Germany and Australia, says he additionally takes particular care of his physique, and is feeling “in actually fine condition” heading into the brand new season.
“I don’t take into consideration retiring — I don’t take into consideration the longer term,” he stated.
“If no membership desires me, I received’t have a crew to play for, and I’ll haven’t any selection however to give up. That day will come sooner or later, however till then, I’ll get pleasure from taking part in soccer.”
As for Miura, Jong-a-Pin believes it should take an act of God to make him dangle up his boots.
“He instructed me he would die on the sphere,” Jong-a-Pin stated. “I consider him. Any person has to make him cease, as a result of he is not going to cease.”
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